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Here’s How to Master the Art of Blush Layering


Picture this – a luminous, rosy, or coral flush that appears to emanate from within, creating a complexion so radiant it could rival the glow of a sunset. This result is achieved through mastering the technique of blush layering. Beyond the basic swipe on the apples of your cheeks, blush layering is a nuanced and skillful approach that can accentuate your features, complement your skin tone, and craft a breathtaking, multi-dimensional flush.

From selecting the perfect blush formula to understanding face shapes, mastering blending techniques, and learning the transformative power of layering, read on for your roadmap to achieving a radiant complexion that turns heads and leaves a lasting impression. Ahead, with the guidance of a beauty expert, prepare to acquire valuable tips and tricks on how to become proficient in the art of blush layering, ultimately achieving the makeup look of your dreams.

About the Expert:
Sarah Tanno is the HAUS LABS Global Artistry Director.

Prep Your Skin

Achieving a flawless and radiant blush look begins with proper skincare preparation. Before applying your favorite bronzer and blush shades, it's essential to create a smooth and well-hydrated canvas. Below is a concise guide to get your skin ready for the ultimate blush experience:

1. Cleanse and Moisturize:

Start with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities, then follow up with your preferred moisturizer to hydrate your skin. Well-moisturized skin helps blush adhere better.

2. Prime the Skin:

Apply a suitable makeup primer to create a smooth canvas for your blush. Choose a primer that matches your skin type for best results.

3. Apply Foundation and Concealer:

Even out your skin tone and conceal imperfections with foundation and concealer. This step ensures a flawless base for your blush layers. Another pro tip: “I recommend setting your skin with a loose setting powder like HAUS LABS Bio-Blurring Loose Setting Powder so you have a nice smooth base for the blush to sit on,” says pro makeup artist and Haus Labs Global Artistry Director Sarah Tanno. 

Apply Cream Blush as a Base Layer

For a natural and enduring flush that sets the stage for flawless blush layering, consider starting with a cream blush as your base layer. Cream blushes boast a soft, blendable texture that harmoniously melds with your skin, resulting in a luminous finish that lasts throughout the day. “To achieve this look, begin by selecting a cream blush shade that complements your skin tone; opt for soft pinks or peach hues for fair skin, coral or rose shades for medium skin tones, and berry or plum hues for deeper skin tones,” says Tanno.

Next, apply a touch of cream blush onto the apples of the cheeks, easily identified by smiling. It's crucial to remember that less is more during this step, as you can always build up the color to your desired intensity. “The brush you use will depend on the level of pigment you want. A dense blush brush will pack on the pigment for those that love a lot of payoff,” says Tanno.

Finally, blend the cream blush gently, moving it upward and outward toward your temples. This technique not only ensures a seamless application but also creates a lifted and youthful effect. Applying a cream blush that seamlessly melts into your skin, will ultimately set the groundwork for stunningly flushed cheeks.

Apply Powder Blush as a Mid-Layer

With a radiant cream blush base in place, it's time to take it up a notch by adding depth and intensity with a strategic layer of powder blush. Powder blushes are celebrated for their longevity and their ability to enhance the cream blush underneath, creating a beautifully layered effect that lasts all day.

First, ensure your powder blush shade harmonizes with your cream blush – it should either be slightly darker or within the same color family. This choice will impart depth and dimension to your cheek color.

Next, equip yourself with a fluffy blush brush for precise and even application. “I would suggest a fan brush or fluffy blush brush if you want a wash of color or to build on the shade,” explains Tanno. “Gently swirl the brush in a circular motion into the powder blush, tapping off any excess, before delicately sweeping it onto the hollows of your cheeks, blending slightly upward,” says Tanno. However, the key to achieving the perfect mid-layer is to focus the powder blush on the outer edges of your cream blush. “Powder blush such as Haus Labs Color Fuse Blush is perfect for creating dimension,” says Tanno. This technique creates a subtle ombré effect, offering your cheeks a soft contour and a natural flush.

Lastly, blend, blend, blend—ensuring that the cream and powder blush merge seamlessly. There should be no discernible lines or demarcations between the two layers. When executed flawlessly, this well-blended blush will appear effortlessly natural.

Apply Highlighter as the Final Layer

To culminate your blush layering masterpiece, the final layer involves a subtle dusting of highlighter. This addition serves to accentuate the high points of your face, elevating the overall blush effect to shimmery heights. Begin by selecting a highlighter shade that complements your chosen blush. “For warmer blush tones, opt for a golden or peachy highlighter, while cooler blush shades harmonize beautifully with pearl or champagne hued highlighters,” says Tanno.

Lightly apply the highlighter to the tops of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, the inner corners of your eyes, and your cupid's bow. These strategic placements capture and play with the light, creating a radiant glow that subtly enhances your blush layers. Finally, utilize a soft, fluffy brush to blend the highlighter into your skin. The goal is to seamlessly meld it with your blush layers to craft an ethereal, lit-from-within glow.

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About the author
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea is an NYC-based fashion and beauty writer with over 7 years experience. She has held roles at publications such as Harper's Bazaar, WWD, InStyle, and Marie Claire. Her writing has also appeared on ELLE.com and POPSUGAR.com.
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Article Last Updated October 26, 2023 12:00 AM